Schoenus brevifolius


Schoenus: rush
brevifolius: short-leaved

Common Name(s)

bog Schoenus, The Stabber

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Schoenus brevifolius R.Br.



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class



Chaetospora tenax Hook.f.; Schoenus tenax (Hook.f.) Hook.f.; Schoenus brevifolius subsp. tenax (Hook.f.) Kük.; Schoenus brevifolius R.Br. var. tenax (Hook.f.) Koyama


Inidgenous. North and South Islands. Also in Australia, New Caledonia and the Bonin Islands. In New Zealand mainly found from North Cape to about the southern Waikato and Rotorua district. Also recorded from the Nelson area.


Coastal to lower montane (up to 500 m a.s.l.). Preferring peat bogs - often ones dominated by restiads, but also frequent in gumland scrub, and in open, boggy ground within kauri (Agathis australis (D.Don) Lindl.) forest.


Rush-like sedge up to 1 m tall. Rhizome hard, lignaceous and coarse, up to 8 mm diameter, covered with closely appressed, dark red, red-black to black glossy bracts. Culms closely packed, rigidly erect, 0.5-1.3 m long, c.2 mm diameter, dark green to yellow-green, smooth, often shallowly grooved on one side, apex maturing as a hard, grey, woody cap-like spike. Leaves reduced to 3-4 very dark red, hard, mucronate sheaths, the 2 uppermost with a short, subulate, erect lamina; orifice of sheath not ciliate. Panicle 80-300 mm long, very narrow, upright and stiff, occasionally bent at the apex, with more or less distant fascicles of 3-5 branchlets, each fascicle subtended by a short sheath similar to those at culm base; branchlets flexuous, flattened, with scabrid margins, often branched again, sheaths subtending secondary branchlets ciliate at the mouth, Spikelet terminating each branchlet 9-12 mm long, 2-4-flowered, lanceolate, red-brown. Glumes 7-14, ovate-lanceolate, acute, margins ciliate towards the apex, 4-6, lower glumes smaller, empty, 2-3 succeeding glumes fertile, uppermost 2-3 glumes sterile. Hypogynous bristles 0. Stamens usually 2, occasionally 3. Style-branches 3. Nut 1.5 x 1 mm, cream, turgid, surface distinctly rugose.

Similar Taxa

Differs from the other rush-like Schoenus species with open, distantly spaced panicles by the culms which are c. 2 mm diameter and by the nuts which are distinctly rugose


September - January


November - June

Propagation Technique

Difficult. Can be grown from the division of whole plants and fresh seed but resents root disturbance. Best in a permanently damp, somewhat acidic soil in full sun.


Not Threatened.

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Not commercially available


Description adapted from Moore and Edgar (1970).

References and further reading

Moore, L.B.; Edgar, E. 1970: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. II. Government Printer, Wellington.

This page last updated on 14 Aug 2014